# Modernization cannot continue

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by darksidZz, Jun 13, 2011.

1. ### Stoniphiobscurely fossiliferousValued Senior Member

Messages:
3,232
The neat thing about major problems is that they act as a challenge for our greatest intellects.

When the automobile replaced the horse (as Frag has testified previously elsewhere) the rate of tuberculosis in the human population of our big cities crashed because we replaced horse poop in the environment with burnt fossil fuel smoke. Looks like we are going to have to do something even cleaner than that if we want to address things like autism and asthma.

I agree that "farming" will be most necessary, but it will (is now becoming) very much different than it has been. Think along the lines of the old "victory gardens" only with contemporary technology. There is a fellow who has planted a nut orchard in downtown Detroit, is planning to grow and sell nuts commercially from there. Other folks have designed those 'vertical farms' I keep going on about. We are only just beginning to take advantage of the tools we already have in hand, vastly more can be done for nothing more than making the choice.

Plague, war, drought, famine and natural disaster could control the human population much more rapidly. Best bet is bringing "third world" nations into "second world" status, which has proven to drop the birthrate enough.

to hide all adverts.
3. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

Messages:
24,690
Indeed. Prosperity is the best contraceptive. A little money lets people do something else for entertainment besides procreation, modern scientific medicine means that most of their children will survive so they don't need so many to run the farm and carry on the family name, and reliable social security programs eliminate the need for children to support them in old age.

The birthrate in the Third World is already falling because of what has already been accomplished there. For example, for the first time since anybody started keeping track, less than half the population of Africa is living in poverty. Of course that other half still needs help, but we can take a moment to be grateful for what has been accomplished so far. And as far as "help" goes, an increasing number of African voices tell us that the best thing we could do for them is to leave 'em the fuck alone and let 'em find their own way! Of course we won't do that, we can't stand to watch children die as their elders "find their own way."

World population will start decreasing in less than 100 years. We can probably muddle through until then. A few more nuclear power plants, a little more conservation. Hell, do you think American managers will ever get the message about telecommuting? "Going to work" every day accounts for a full one-fourth of our petroleum consumption. That doesn't even include the second-order effects, such as energy-inefficient fast food joints for people who can't get home in time for dinner, nannies driving all over town to take care of children whose parents never see them awake, and an army of gardeners, plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen doing odd jobs for people who are never home in the daylight to use the DIY equipment stacked up in their garage.

to hide all adverts.
5. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

Messages:
53,952
Telecommuting? Ha! You will be lucky if you still have a job! Prosperity is one thing you can be sure we will not have in the future.

to hide all adverts.
7. ### billvonValued Senior Member

Messages:
16,760
?? Mass transit is not free once you set it up; it requires fuel/energy, employees and useful land. Nevertheless a great many cities HAVE invested in mass transit.

I believe the Sharp solar panel plant at Sakai does just that.

Not at all. But again, once the installation is done, you have the power to make the panels.

And where do you get more panels to do it again? From the plant.

Agreed; however, relatively speaking, our standard of living will still be quite opulent compared to even present-day conditions in, say, the Congo. The trauma of living in a solar-powered house that occasionally experiences blackouts, driving a car with a measly 100 mile range, and having to eat local vegetables isn't really comparable to watching your kids die of malaria.

Our grid has ALWAYS been barely able to keep up with loads. Still, it would be pretty silly to look at New York City in 1910 and conclude "this grid sucks, therefore nuclear power will never be possible."

Correct, there is no free lunch.

Nope. But there are pig powered farm tractors, and pigs are not only often found on farms, but are quite renewable:

Because governments have the resources to wage large scale war, and they protect those resources resulting in wars.

8. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

Messages:
53,952
I agree, things in the USA will probably be better than in the Congo, but that's not saying much, since 3rd world refugees will probably be forced to seek out better climates.

9. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

Messages:
9,391
There's a minister in India who insists the best way to reduce the birth rate there is to get electricty and television into as many underserved communities as possible, so that people will watch TV at night instead of having sex (and so, making more babies).

10. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

Messages:
24,690
I'm sure they said the same thing when the Industrial Revolution hit. "Omigod, machines are taking over farming! There won't be jobs for people any more!"

Up into the 19th century, more than 99% of the population were doomed to "careers" working 80-hour weeks in the production and distribution of food. The boost from an industrial economy created entire new industries with entire new categories of jobs that no one could have imagined. Transportation? Publishing? Entertainment? Education? Communication? Fast Food? Retail? Fitness? Leisure travel? Even government itself, which employs a huge segment of the workforce.

The same is true of the Electronic Revolution. Traditional blue-collar jobs are being automated out of existence and we're only beginning to get a glimpse of the kinds of work that will be needed a hundred years from now. And there will be another quantum-reduction in the length of the work week, as technology continues to take over all the hard jobs.

Government, which has always been an information-intensive sector of the economy since the invention of writing, will continue to grow.

11. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

Messages:
53,952
You are extrapolating the future from a past that featured ever increasing energy inputs and thus ever increasing economic activity. You can't just replace that with moving numbers around on a computer.

12. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

Messages:
24,690
Economic activity is increasingly intellectual rather than physical. It does not require as much energy as industrial activity.

Just look at the capitalization of a company like Google. That may be a virtual product, but it's real wealth.

13. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

Messages:
53,952
That's all parasitic on a an economy of real goods with real value.

14. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

Messages:
24,690
Man, are you ever a 16th-century kind of guy! "If I can't put it in a box, it ain't real!" You don't believe that movies, music, literature, maps, speeches, databases, poems, photographs, schedules, directories, instructional courses, etc., are "real"?

And how about services? In the Western nations, service jobs are the fastest growing sector of the economy. Teachers, surgeons, landscapers, cooks, mechanics, travel agents, lawyers, roofers, plumbers, electricians, athletes and their coaches, etc

The production of physical goods will continue to be automated until it requires very little human oversight. We'll be doing more important things.

15. ### gmilamValued Senior Member

Messages:
3,153
Most of which cannot telecommute.

16. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

Messages:
24,690
But they're still vastly outnumbered by knowledge workers, who can work anywhere there's an internet connection.

17. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

Messages:
53,952
The Wishing Society

18. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

Messages:
24,690
Yet another American who doesn't understand the future. How do these Luddites keep getting jobs??? The future is crashing down on them and they still don't see it.

The main reason we're running out of petroleum is that almost everybody "goes to work" every day. Eventually a younger generation of managers will take over the economy, people who have been living in a virtual world since they were babies, with their MMORPGs and their cellphones and their iPads. They won't understand why anyone ever thought that people have to be in the same physical location in order to work together.

Once we stop wasting all that fossil fuel on commuting, there will be plenty left for growing food, until we stop dithering about alternative energy sources and finally choose one and start building the infrastructure for it.

Yeah okay, maybe we'll have to stop eating beef, the most energy-inefficient food on the planet. That will make me sad but I'll be okay as long as you don't try to take away my chocolate too.

19. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

Messages:
53,952
We do have to be in the same physical location in order to work effectively together.

Your focus on commuting is just as myopic as the present focus on electric cars as the solution to our problems.

20. ### BelieveHappy mediumValued Senior Member

Messages:
1,194
How do you figure?

21. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

Messages:
53,952
People still need to eat, and food cannot be generated by a computer.

22. ### BelieveHappy mediumValued Senior Member

Messages:
1,194
Honestly, the only reason why we are still using oil is because it is easier then trading up for solar, wind, or others (i.e. less \$). We currently have everything we need to get rid of oil as an energy source (but not as a raw material for goods) and the motivation to put these new technologies in place will come as the oil runs out to the point were it is no longer the easy choice (i.e. more ). After 10 or 20 years worth of crap (brown outs, shortages, rationing, riots, possibly even small skirmishes between countries) everything will be almost the same as it is now, if not better.

23. ### BelieveHappy mediumValued Senior Member

Messages:
1,194
I don't think I would define that as parasitic..... People gotta have fun.